Skip to main content

tv   Reflections on President Eisenhower  CSPAN  December 8, 2013 5:00pm-5:46pm EST

5:00 pm
>> we are back live at the national book festival on the mall in washington d.c. booktv on c-span2. [cheers and applause] as you can see, we have a great audience still in the history and biography tent. we are joined by jean edward smith, and eisenhower biographer and of course david and julie nixon eisenhower, grant and a
5:01 pm
granddaughter in law and of course daughter president next 10. we are pleased to have everyone here. we are going to put the numbers up on the screen. (202)585-3885 in eastern and central time zone. 585-3886 in the mountain and pacific time zones. and now, the eisenhower said mr. smith were talking. you hear a lot about presentation. we've got people lined up here and i'm going to give everyone a chance. i get my questions out of the way really fast. jean edward smith, did president eisenhower like campaigning? >> certainly not in 1952. in 1952, this was a new job that he had to learn. but he learned it effectively ended in 1956, he campaigned quite a bit.
5:02 pm
.. is somebody that recreated for me -- and i tried -- we tried to capture that in going home to glory. the ambience around the eisenhower office, people enjoying a quiet morning over coffee, and in that period rusty brown and dr. mccann pick up a lot of things that dwight eisenhower did conversationally,
5:03 pm
and one comment they made that stayed with me, and i reproduced it, is that his highest praise for anybody was to call them able, and what he was trying to do was to deflate the language. he felt that everything was being inflated in the 1960s. hour notions of drama on the national level. in fact, very telling book, very searching and interesting book on the year 19 by a trio of british writers, "american mellow drama." everything is so dramatic. i was trying to restore a sense of proportion, and so being very able was something. want to add something, too, to what temperatures smith -- dr. smith said about campaigning. i have spoken to a lot of my grandfather's colleagues of the
5:04 pm
years in putting eisenhower books together, and one in particular was lynn hall, a former national chairman of the republican party. i interviewed him in oyster bay, new york, close to the teddy roosevelt homestead some years ago, and i asked him that very question, and i think he would have agreed with your response entire lyric that dwight eisenhower did not enjoy campaigning, but said the two greatest natural politicians he had seen were al smith and dwight eisenhower. he said these were two people who had a natural cal lent for it. that is the able to say the right thing at the right time, to make the gesture, and so forth, and he had a talent for campaigning, and i think that is -- he was older, well into
5:05 pm
this 60s when he was running, so did not have the energy of richard nixon in 1960, or obama running in 2008 and so on. >> and mrs. eisenhower, a lot has been written about your parents' relationship with the eisenhowers. how do you describe it? >> i think that one of the things i enjoyed doing when i was working on the project of eisenhower's retirement years, was to look at that relationship and to think about it more, and i'm amazed that eisenhower and nixon got along as well as they did. you have two presidents, rumbling around together. a president is going to be someone who is very driven, as an agenda, device eighten hour, and richard nixon as 39 becomes his vice president, who already is showing signs he is on his way. so the fact they got along as
5:06 pm
well as they did is a testament to self things, but i think eisenhower should be praised because eisenhower made the vice-presidency significant. the sent my parents to 53 nations around the world as goodwill ambassadors. they were the vietnam in 1953, 53 nations, because he believed in person to person diplomacy, and my father liked that. eisenhower led the way on that relationship, with making the vice-presidency more than what it was -- a warm bowl of spit, who said that. >> to add to what julie was saying, this idea they got along well in spite of their respective circumstances and their abilities, a case in point, the alternative, would be eisenhower and macarthur.
5:07 pm
when you see pictures of them together in this cozy situation in manila, you have the general and then the staff aide and the staff aide is leaping over respectfully -- leaning over respectfully and providing the general with a draft of the message he is to approve and so forth, and is all very humble and all that kind of thing. what i think they're going to blow up -- this is a relationship shat is going blow up, and you look at it retropecktively and say, of course it was going to blow up. this person accepts the japanese surrender in tokyo bay, september 1945. this is macarthur, the far eastern theater, dwight eisenhower commanded the european theater. these people who are naturally in a superior-subordinate relationship. no wonder they blew up, and the dade, eisenhower and nextan --
5:08 pm
herndon said about lincoln, amibition was an engine that never rested, and you have to have that to be a president, to even be eligible to become a president. to even be within the zone of people who are considered for the presidency so they both have this tremendous dynamism, and they were bound to clash, and the answer is they were of separate generations. i think if they had been contemporary it would have been very difficult. >> the first call for our guests comes from carl in elizabeth, new jersey. carl, you're on booktv, please go ahead. >> caller: this is a great privilege. just a week ago i got mr. smith's book on eisenhower out of the local library, and i'm absorbed in it, and i'm in the middle of drafting a letter to david and to his father and now that i see the two eisenhowers on stage together, it's going to have a third
5:09 pm
addressee, mrs. eisenhower as well. i have a specific -- i also want to say my earliest political memory is my mother weeping when general eisenhower was nominated at the '52 republican convention so that gives away what my age might be. i have a serious question concerning how history is recorded regarding the u2 incident of may 1, 1960. and i have reference to a memo of general goodpastor, an aide to president eisenhower, writing that after checking with the president i informed mr. bissel of the cia that one additional operation, a u2 operation, may be undertaken, provided it is carried out prior to may 1st. that memo, unless its written to cover mr. -- general goodpastors rear end, suggests the u2 might
5:10 pm
not have been authorized by president eisenhower but in fact was a rogue operation directed by the director of central intelligence. can any light be thrown on that, please? thank you very, very much. i appreciate it. >> general goodpastor did not go out on his own on anything. the president approved the last u2 flight. there's no question the president approved it. there's no question the president regretted approving it. but he approved it because the cia insisted on it, and he alod -- allowed them to have that one last flight, and of course francis gary powers was shot down, and i us regretted it, and eisenhower to his great credit did not blame this on mr. dulles or mr. bissell and took responsibility for it, even though khrushchev gave him ample
5:11 pm
opportunity to place the blame on someone else. eisenhower took personal responsibility did approve it. >> our next question is from the audience. >> i had a question about eisenhower's ability to recognize talent. i've read that he was quite good at identifying maybe what other people would consider hidden talents, and i wonder if you can comment about that, if you also found that in your study of him and whether or not there's a particular trait he looks for in people to identify people that might otherwise have been overlooked. >> when you come up through a military career as president eisenhower did, one of the things you learn very early on is how to identify talent, eisenhower was a superb identifier of talent, and i -- simply to give you one example.
5:12 pm
herbert brownell and lucious clay, who were very close to president eisenhower. after eisenhower was elected president in november of 1952, he immediately took off to play golf in augusta, and let clay and brownell turn -- turned the selection of his cabinet to clay and brownell, because he knew these people and recognized their talent and their ability and he understood they no. knew more about who should be in the cabinet perhaps than he did because he had been in nato for the previous here to years. so eisenhower was a superb judge of talent and learned that through his military career. >> i would say amplifying that, that is probably his most important political contribution as president. dwight eisenhower was a republican and proud of being a republican, and he believed in limited government but he was
5:13 pm
governing in a democratic era. he was governing in the fdr era, so what the eisenhower administration does politically, it applies the brakes to overreaching and ratifies and in fact makes bipartisan many policies of the new deal, but applies the brakes on others, but it's not an aggressive administration presenting a republican blueprint and driving for a mandate on policy questions. what the eisenhower administration did in the '50s, however, methodically, was it recruited talent. it's hard to find a republican presidency that doesn't trace its origins to the eisenhower administration. george w. bush being the latest actual incumbent in the white house to have acknowledged that debt. mitt romney, who was running -- a republican nominee this year's father was identified by
5:14 pm
eisenhower in the early '60s as a copper in michigan, and promoted romney's fortunes. the idea is with the power of the presidency and control of the executive branch, the republican party in the 1950s had an opportunity to train a whole cadre, thousands of future leaders, who would go out and make a difference in the future, and i think that's one of the great accomplishments of that administration. it was early republican administration, governing against the new deal tide, g.ing sensibly, governing in a bipartisan way and getting a lot done and governing well, but above all, promoting from within and creating opportunities for people down the road here, and i think they succeeded really well in that. >> our next question comes from steven, right here in silver spring, maryland in the suburbs. high, city steven. >> caller: hi. i'd like to ask the speakers,
5:15 pm
specifically david and julie, as somebody who is writing his own book on president nixon's vietnam policy, i'd be very interested to find out what, if any, advice president eisenhower might have given to president nixon on an informal basis how to conduct the war in vietnam? >> write about this extensively in hi going home to glory." >> we coveredded in a certain way, and it was -- what happens in late 1967 -- in fact there's a wonderful account that richard nixon wrote that was basically his last business meeting with dwight eisenhower, and what i see here is that a torch is passed. dwight eisenhower was somebody who knew two things. and first of all in his era, he knew the nature of soviet communism and knew america's importance in sort of holding up defending the free world. but he also knew that his perspective and his wisdom was
5:16 pm
generation-bound, and that the next generation -- and nixon represented the next generation -- would have to make its own evaluation of the situation. i think that what nix won was presenting eisenhower in 1967 was for eisenhower probably confusing. what you said about the eisenhower doctrine, you fight a war, you mean and it go on to win. that was not applied in vietnam, and richard nixon was running for atlanta 1967 on a platform -- not promising to obliterate north vietnam or total victory. he promised to end the war and win the peace. a complicated re-arrangement. so what happens, device i eighten hour and richard nixon's final meeting, eisenhower has read the articles and approves and things the understands and realizes he is now older, and he will not have the energy to see this project through, and this
5:17 pm
is why turn to able people, turn to energetic leadership, regenerate the presidency, because nixon was in a position to maca call in 1968 that would have endless positive international ramifications, ending the war, winning the peace. >> mrs. eisenhower, did you want to add anything? >> the only thing i would add is that last farewell meeting where my father travels to gettysburg and has a copy of foreign anorth carolina which he says we need to end this isolation and recognize that the united states and china have to move forward together, and of course eisenhower based his presidency and post presidency in saying no recognition of red china, as it was then called. but at the end eisenhower came to agree it was time for a new shift. >> you're watching booktv on c-span 2, live coverage of the national book festival, jean
5:18 pm
edward smith, buying agrapher of president eisenhower, and david and julie knickson eisenhower, going home to glory about president eisenhower's post presidency. next question from the audience. >> this is to dived eisenhower and julie nixon eisenhower particularly. the '60s was a few multiuse time and feminism was in the air, and i'm wondering, at home on the farm, if president eisenhower had anything to say about these changes, and also maime, what was her role and was she consulted by your grandfather-en-law on these issues and women in the military >> i don't -- i just was sort of changing -- exchanging glances with jean.
5:19 pm
i don't think eisenhower made comments about women in the military. >> the women's army corps was created but that was during world war ii when eisenhower had -- you're right. >> one of my favorite clips is in pbs, the presidential -- the american experience, there's a wonderful two-part documentary on dwight eisenhower. one of my favorite equips is eisenhower returned to uniform in 1951 and taking up his nato command, and they show him exchanging a salute with a female officer, and it is all business. in other words, dwight eisenhower does not see male-female. he is an officer and she is a superior officer. it as an interesting picture selection. the closest i can come to that is he gave a commencement address -- very proud hoff my three sisters and there were
5:20 pm
four of us grandchildren, and he addressed the shipley school in the spring of 1967 and was addressing these hemlines that were going up, the mini-skirts, and he says remember that ankles were always neat but knees are always knobby. something like this. in other words he was not very modern, but he loved people. male, female. he loved humanity, and that really came through in everything that i experienced around him. i'm talking about these evening on the sun porch in gettysburg, and dinner and guests and so forth. i don't know how he would have formulated a position about feminism, but i think he -- the key to human relations and his view was mutual respect, and he had tons of relationships like that, mail -- male and female. >> next question, john in
5:21 pm
woodland hills, california. good afternoon, you're on booktv. >> caller: thank you. good afternoon. let me first say that president eisenhower is one of just a handleful of presidents for whom the office of presidency was not the greatest accomplishment in his career. he would have been an historical figure even if he never ran for president. but my question concerns the nomination of senator nixon for vice president. reports have been stated on tv that eisenhower was approached after he was nominated, and the asked who should be vice president, and he said, isn't that up to the convention? and then his staff said, well, the convention will go for whomever you suggest. and then they recommended senator nixon. but that story always seemed to me to be a little insincere. it seems to me there was more to that than met the eye. i think general eisenhower and president eisenhower was very
5:22 pm
good at appearing less involved than he actually was, and it always seemed to me this is an occasion where he had made the choice but he wanted the responsibility to fall on the staff, and so since we have people here who are intimately involved with the eisenhower and nixon families, i wonder what they can say about this appointment or this nomination of senator nixon for vice president. >> host: thank you, john. professor smith. >> many years ago i had an interview with herbert brownell, ran eisenhower's presidential campaign. in that interview he said, that evening after ike won the nomination in chicago, he and lucious clay and the general were having dinner at the blackstone hotel, and mr. brownell said, so i asked the general, general, whom do you want to be your vice presidential candidate? and he said the general looked at me and said, well, think that
5:23 pm
mr. smith, who is the head of american airlines, enormously effective executive, charles wilson, who is head of general electric, is an enormousry effective executive. he would be a good vice president. and brownell said, lucious and i were sort of rolling our eyes at each other at that point, and i rallied and said, general, they're all very fine men but i'm sure the convention is going to want to a candidate whom they can recognize, and i'm sure they're going to look to you exclusively for guidance. and so the general nodded his head, and mr. brownell then said, general, if you haven't thought about it very much, lucious and i believe we should go with richard nixon. nixon's young. he was in the navy. he is from california. he has a good record in the house and senate, and the president said, well, -- general
5:24 pm
eisenhower said, according to brownell, i think i've met him. i think i've met him. clear it with the staff people and if the staff people say okay, that's fine. i can't say that's exactly how it happened but certainly that's what herbert brownell said was the way it happened and mr. brownell was a key player at that time. >> i have something to add. the first two vice presidents that he selected with the idea that it would be future presidents -- the first two-do were hari truman in 1944 and there is an argument right now between roosevelt scholars and truman scholars over whether that was the case, but buysed on stories i heard growing up, that's pretty true in my mind. that truman was selected in 1944 with the idea that roosevelt would not survive his term. the second was richmond nixonin' 1952. there is a -- i have some
5:25 pm
personal insight into this. rich nixon in his memoir recounts how in 1951 he gave an address in the waldorf astore ya in the presence of governor thomas dewey, and dewey said to me maersk me a promise, senator, don't get overweight, stay in shape, some day you will be president. i believe that governor dewey was the one who was behind brownell and clay, and the idea was that nixon would be the political arm of the eisenhower years, and he was. he was -- nixon took on enormous responsibility for keeping the republican party in business in that period. the reason i think there's a lot to this is that when richard nixon was elected in 1968 -- and julie and i spent so many evening with him -- '9 and '70, one name that kept coming up over and over again, and i think this would be an interesting article some day.
5:26 pm
documenting the personal relationship based on complete confidence and fondness between richard nixon and thomas dewey. knickson wanted to name dewey warren's successor. he wanted to elevate him to the supreme court. dewey said, basically, i'm too old. he wanted to be secretary of defense. wanted to be anything in his government, and this was gratitude but a relationship that was forged without question back in a time when thomas dewey identified nixon as a young political comer. >> i know that after my father was nominated and eisenhower and my father met, eisenhower admitted he didn't realize just quite how young my father was when he made the decision for him to be the running mate. i don't think he realized he was 39. maybe he thought he was 41 or something. thought he was 42? >> that's right. 39 years old.
5:27 pm
>> let me go back to what david said about governor dewey. that's exactly right. eisenhower's campaign for president was run by due yes, brownell, and clay. but dewey always stayed in the background because he had run in '48 and '44 and lost both times so remained in the background, but dewey indeed invited nixon to give the keynote address, the rein lincoln day address to the republican party in new york in 1952, and at that time nixon went up to the suite afterwards with brunell and dewey and that's when they formed that point that he should be the candidate, no question about it. >> host: next question from right here in the audience at the national backfest. >> this is to david primarily. you talked about being -- having a mild manner and having a farm in pennsylvania and having just
5:28 pm
toning down rhetoric, and things should be in scale, and i was wondering if you or any of your sisters, if they're listening, have any comments on the proposed memorial for the washington, dc. >> i think -- my sister was on c-span as we were coming in. i was listening to her comments, and all i'll say about the memorial commissioner, two things. first is the gratitude or the satisfaction that our family feels that as many senators and congressmen, as many distinguished people served on the eisenhower commission, would devote the time and the resources and so forth to memorializing quite eisenhower, this means a lot to us. second, we drove right through the -- through that area that -- where the eisenhower memorial is supposed to happen this afternoon, and it was a
5:29 pm
reminder, very close to the capitol, and in fact presidential inaugurals, look over the president, one will see the site where the eisenhower memorial is supposed to happen. seeing that site was a reminder that this is pressures real estate in the district. this is a really important spot. and we have to get it right. in other words, the memorial has got to satisfy everybody, the congress who is going to -- that is going to look out on it. the citizens to come who will attend inaugural ceremonies. it doesn't surprise me that given dwight eisenhower's career, which mr. smith covers in such a -- this is such an incredible life, literally a war
5:30 pm
career which stands on its own, and the presidency, how to do all of that in a single site, probably 500 ways to do it. maybe a thousand ways to do it. it doesn't surprise me that a controversy has arisen over the design and that will be sorted out. it has to be because this is a beautiful site in washington, and the commission and the people responsible have to get it right. >> host: we are talking with authors david and julie nixon eisenhower. "going home to glory" and jean edward smith. pie eisenhower in war and peace." the next call is from mike in los angeles. >> my question is for david. your father was an amazing president. one of the greatest republican presidents ever to actually serve in our country. but it seems that the republican party has fell short in recent years. look at the last republican
5:31 pm
president and his eight year administration. look at where the republican convention is, a prime example of the problems that the republican party is having in current events happening today. you had different sects inside the republican party. the tea party movement, which is -- pardon me me for saying -- seems like a joke in itself. what do you think your grandfather would have viewed the republican party and his advice be to republican leaders in today's society? >> host: get an answer from both eisenhowers on the evolution of the g.o.p. >> and also mr. smith who has very interesting views on this. my view of it is that to pose that question -- it is a very interesting what-if. to pose that question is like asking how franklin roosevelt would have viewed the democratic party in the jimmy carter era. in other words, this is -- it's the same idea, but it's being carried forward under different circumstances. in fact a very interesting
5:32 pm
speech that we studied at the university of pennsylvania is a speech that jimmy carter gave, famous speech, douglas brinkley is here. written the best book on jimmy carter, the unfinished presidency, but he gave a speech called the national malaise speech. and lines that up to next to the franklin roosevelt first gnawing -- inaugural in 1943 the american people were ratifying the new deal in 1979 the more than people had more or less abandoned the new deal. what you see is a change in circumstance. i think the g.o.p. right now -- the vicissitudes have a lot to do with circumstance, but i would say -- this is going back to the '50s and the depth that
5:33 pm
the bushes acknowledge and others in the republican party. what dwight eisenhower did in selection of vice presidents, at the blackstone in 1952, picking charlie wilson and other business people -- he is member who greatly admired the private seconder of america, and looked for ways to delegate authority to the private seconder in -- sector in his era. that's my response. what would you say? >> i would seek this rule at -- some may be old enough to remember zeke who played for the washington senators in the 1930. he was a big rolly-polly fellow, couldn't move around very much but always led the american league in fielding, and one time a newspaper reporter said, how can you possibly lead the american league in fielding? you're immobile at first base. and he said, it's perfectly
5:34 pm
simple. if you don't touch the ball you can't make an arrow, so -- an arrow. so i -- error. so i think i'll pass. >> so will i. >> also a heck of a hitter. >> next question . >> i just finished reading a book talking about the role of the former presidents helping the current residents with the party, and you talk about how president eisenhower helped kennedy, nixon, and johnson, but i'm curious how truman helped eisenhower. >> very quickly, a little something on that. >> the question is, could you -- i worked with his successors. how did truman work with him. >> thank you. >> i don't know if you saw the -- >> how did president truman work with eisenhower? when eisenhower was president of columbia and then after leaving the office of -- well, let's go back before that. in berlin in 1945, president
5:35 pm
truman offered to step down as the nominee if eisenhower would accept the nomination. when it came time to get things off the ground in 1950 and 1951, eisenhower -- president truman asked eisenhower if he would leave the presidency of columbia and go back to europe to organize nato, which generalizen hour did, and eisenhower was there when he came back in 1952 to run for the republican nomination. so there was great respect between the two, and one of the reasons truman did not seek a third -- seek re-election in 1952, was because ike got the republican nomination. if cass had gotten the nomination, truman would have stayed the democratic candidate that year. so there was a great deal of respect between the two.
5:36 pm
they fell out during the campaign, during the 19352 campaign. ike wasn't quite prepared for the bitterness of the campaign, and he blamed president truman for that, and there was some other things. and ike resented truman's role in the campaign, and you may recall that -- you may not -- that on inaugural day when the president elect calls on the president at the white house and they drive up in the limousine to the capitol, eisenhower did not get out of the limousine to go into the white house to have coffee with the president as is customary. he was smarting over his -- some issues during the campaign, and the ride up to the capitol was very chilling. he had invited your father back from korea at the time, without telling anyone, and general eisenhower took a little offense
5:37 pm
at that. but -- there was some other things. but three days later, after eisenhower was in the white house, he wrote an effusesive letter to president truman, far more generous and appreciative about how truman had facilitated the changeover and the transition, and an effusesive letter. they didn't really see much of each other for the next, oh, dozen years. they met, i think, for the first time at the assassination funeral of president john kennedy. >> i think they met briefly at the rayburn funerallin' 1961. but that's. there wasn't estrangement and that happens. and again, this is going back to this question of how a richard nixon would have gotten along with a dwight eisenhower or whatever. one of the things you can rely on, i think, is that relations between a successor and a
5:38 pm
predecessor tend to be frosty, and because of the very nature of executive leadership you come into office and the idea is i'm going to change the world. i see everything that has been done wrong and now we're going to do it my way. so generally your predecessor tends to be your target. so eisenhower and truman fall into that pattern. eisenhower/kennedy to a lesser extent. kennedy/johnson falls into that pattern. johnson/nixon, much less, and carter/reagan. >> the democratic to republican exacerbated the changeover as well. it was at ken's funeral they got back together. they rode in the same car, had a drink before. and i think they got along marv obviously with each other, from everything i understand, and i guess it's not talking out of school -- maybe it is talking
5:39 pm
out of school -- but they both thought that president kennedy's funeral was overdone, that it was too grand, and i think eisenhower and truman said that. so when eisenhower was buried, this was a very simple funeral. it was -- eisenhower was buried in the g.i. spot. $98. there was no big parade, no mourning. the body lay in state in the capitol and then placed on the train and went back to abilene. i'm sure you were there. >> one more thing about eisenhower and truman. and that is i don't think any two presidents had more in common with each other than those two. they were different personalities but one can easily imagine harry truman in the abilene high school yearbook, might have been wearing thick
5:40 pm
glasses and holing a violin or a piano player but he was a midwestern type and ike was a midwestern type. there is enseed in the -- episode in the 1952 campaign, and truman more or less asked him to run for president. about september or so, truman goes on the -- -- erupts that eisenhower is a -- a fighting word in the midwest. no one else would have any idea what it is but eisenhower and truman would have an idea, and apparently this is a fighting word, and it means something like kind of a turncoat. the idea that ike had worked with democrats and now is out running as a republican and so forth.
5:41 pm
this was -- truman knew how to get under eisenhower's skin, and so he did in 1952, and i think that contributed to the very frosty relationship. >> right to point out that truman is from missouri, and very similar. when truman began his career working at a bank, working in kansas city, his roommate for the first year was arthur eisenhower. eisenhower's oldest brother. they lived together in the same room. the same rooming house. in fact there's a document -- is deep in the papers. i don't know how many historians have seen this one but it was a message in effect being relayed to eisenhower through arthur, his older brother, from harry, truman, who was then a senator in missouri and had not been elevated to the vice-presidency yet and it was 1943, early '44 before the political year began,
5:42 pm
and this is from the u.s. senator in missouri to the commander of european forces, supreme -- the allied forces. says your publicity is perfect. don't change a thing. you're the inevitable successor to franklin roosevelt. and as it turns out, harry truman finds him in a role like andrew johnson after the american civil war. somebody who is dropped into this natural succession, and -- >> unfortunately we could probably go for another hour. we all have 150 questions. we have one minute left. you get 15 seconds and we'll give our panelists 45. >> okay. this is for david. do you recall personally speaking with your grandfather about the norman -- normandy invasion, particularly about its potential for failure. >> jean edward smith's help on this.
5:43 pm
from a grandchild's perspective, world war ii was a subject that he left alone. as my father put it once, he would accept criticism on anything regarding his presidency, but he could not really bring himself to revisit the controversies of world war ii, i think because so much was at stake. if you think of all the lives that depended on the decisions that were made then, and this reflected in the character of the eisenhower library and the roosevelt library. this is a very somber topic, and my grandfather just simply would not -- he didn't want to teach it. and he didn't want to go back and relive it in any superficial way. by the same token we're encouraged to learn it. so this is the veteran experience -- you covered so many clay, grant. what's your reaction there? >> i think david is the
5:44 pm
authority on this. 25 years ago david was the definitive book on eisenhower's generalship, and i think that he has had the last word on this. >> i want to finish with that. it's been an honor to be here with jean edward smith, who has written a terrific book. julie and i are fighting over it. this is a great account of the entire life, which is to me the greatest challenge i can imagine in writing, and my personal congratulations to you, mr. smith. >> finally, mrs. eisenhower, what's the most interesting conversation you ever had with president eisenhower or one that comes to mine. >> i'll get very personal, and this will be very quick. we would good visit him during the '68 campaign after we were engaged, and everytime we went into his room he would be lying flat there, he had the heart monitors on, and -- but his spirit was so great and he would always say, when are you going
5:45 pm
to become an eisenhower? and that made me feel good. it was very nice. >> david and julie nixon eisenhower, jean edward smith. this is book tv on c-span 2. this is the national book festival. and our live coverage from the national book festival continues tomorrow. go to book of.org to get the fuel schedule. see you then. thank you, everyone. >> visit book publish book of.org. you can share anything you see on booktv.org by clicking share on the upper left side of the page and selecting the format. booktv streams live online for 48 hours every weekend. booktv.org.

65 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on